Before I start… I do not, and have not ever, worked for Brewdog. On occasion I have disagreed with the way they’ve gone about things. However, they have had some fantastic PR stunts, they do make great beer, they have built a company with a great brand, loyal following and huge turnover in a relatively short space of time and, for all of those reasons and more, I truly admire them.
Watching the recent episode of ‘Who’s the Boss’ shocked me a little. An immersive, collaborative recruitment process is an interesting concept. Recruitment is a huge part of my job and finding the right people is a delicate balance, having more help from the rest of the team could be invaluable in making the right decisions sooner and saving time and effort in the long run. It’s certainly something I’ll be giving a lot of thought even if I don’t go the whole hog.
From the first glimpse of the candidates for the area manager role I couldn’t believe that not one of them appeared to have a ‘fit’ with the Brewdog culture. What on earth was the recruitment consultant thinking? You can’t mould somebody to want to ‘blow shit up’. To then find out only one had any appropriate exprience for the role was ridiculous. Hospitality is not easy, that consultant massively underestimated the skills needed to run a hospitality business. Pubs and bars aren’t just like shops that sell food instead of clothes?! Understanding how a hospitality business works on a day to day basis is vital to being able to lead it successfully.
The fact that the process fell apart was a shame, especially for the candidates who shouldn’t have been dragged up there in the first place. I really believe James made the right decision though. A business like brewdog didnt get where it is by being a democracy and whilst collaborative hiring is a nice thing to do, leading the team into a corner to make the wrong decision could have been pretty awful. There has been a backlash on social media saying he failed his own charter as he didnt take a risk and follow the process through. I actually think he took more of a risk turning everything upside down rather than seeing what the process delivered.
In the end though, I am sure that the staff would have chosen the same candidate, he was the closest fit and he did have the most relevant experience. I am also fairly certain the candidate would have made the same decision not to take the role even if James hadn’t moved the goalposts. A ‘fit’ and company culture work two ways, both parties have to feel comfortable.
Watch it and make your own mind up, but I think the recruitment consultant and the BBC editor come out of this looking pretty poor while Brewdog, and James, have stuck to their principles admirably.